• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Student inspired to make a difference

By Sinazo Kleinveldt

Ameeta Patel, a 24-year-old Pharmacy student recently helped raise funds to buy hygiene kits for children at the Nompumelelo Informal Settlement in Beacon Bay.

Born into a medical family, where her grandfather was a Doctor, Patel says she has always had a passion for serving and helping people.

Her grandfather, Dr B Jogei, served the East London community for years and has inspired her to do the same.

The initiative started when Patel was back home during the national lockdown.

“I had to come home, and that made me feel pretty useless as a healthcare professional during the pandemic, as I wanted to play my part in helping our community,” said Patel.

Speaking to the Eastern Cape Rising Sun she said that many doctors, pharmacists, and dentists were in the frontline helping during the pandemic, and she felt bad that she had to stay at home.

The idea for covid hygiene kits came about when Patel realized that, as pharmacists, their main duty is to keep the public healthy and safe.

“Hygienic items can be very expensive” explains Patel.

During the lockdown, people selfishly stocked up on toiletries, and as a result, prices inflated.

“Not everyone has the luxury to afford basic hygiene items” adds Patel, who initiated and carried out the campaign solely, advertising on social media for support.

“I was overwhelmed by the response and I didn’t expect the funding to come from all over South Africa,” says Patel.

This has been Patel’s biggest blessing she says, bigger than the Pad drive, in which she raised R10 000 for sanitary towels that were donated to Masithethe Counselling Services.

“The timing of the initiative was a blessing. It was in July (Mandela Month) and the Gujarati Shravan fasting month, which made people generous to give” added Patel.

The Kits are worth R250 each and include toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap bars, lotions, sanitizers, sanitary pads, face cloths, and wet wipes. Biscuits and noodles are also part of the package.

The only obstacle that Patel faced with her project was the distribution, but thankfully Nalithemba Development Foundation (NDF), a group of young passionate Eastern Cape leaders, was more than willing to help with this.

The kits will be delivered on October 30 to 150 identified needy homes in the Nompumelelo township.

Patel says she hopes that her little project makes a difference to the lives of many, keeps the people safe, and decreases their financial burden for the next two months at least.

Pharmacy student, Ameeta Patel helped raise funds to buy hygiene kits for the Nompumelelo Township. Melumzi Yeye is pictured helping her.

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